The unprecedented crisis humanity is going through due to the spread of coronavirus demands a serious pause and a somber introspection on what mankind has done to the environment, what actions are needed currently, and how and in what ways performance and management need to be aligned for effective and efficient actions. India, a megadiverse country with only 2.4 per cent of the world’s land area, 7–8 per cent of the recorded species diversity, supporting around 18 per cent of the human population and a substantial percentage of cattle population, is taking adequate measures, undoubtedly, to develop responsibly and in an environment-friendly manner. However, the question remains—if that is enough and most importantly, if that is substantial?
While we know a lot about how many ecosystems operate around us with such complexity and on such a large scale that it would be difficult for humanity to replace them, no matter how much money has been invested in the process. However, processes such as breakdown and decomposition of dead organisms and wastes; the recycling of nutrients for a new life on land, in rivers, lakes, and streams, and the vast blue oceans; and regulation of microclimate—are all remarkably paramount and need to be dedicatedly preserved.
A tale about a temperate forest demonstrates well the abundance and complexity ecological systems can offer. Temperate forests act as CO 2 sinks by carbon sequestration in the trees and soils, thus significantly reducing human-caused climate change and thereby stabilizing local climates, the uptake of water by tree roots; reduce soil erosion by dampening the power of rain and by tree roots binding soils; provides goods, such as timber, medicines, and food; reduce risk of infectious diseases to humans such as Lyme disease.
Deforestation, dredging; damming of rivers and streams; degradation of wetlands, mangroves, and estuaries; habitat destruction—on land, water and oceans; release of high amounts of nitrates and phosphates from sewage and agricultural holdings into natural systems; acid rain; fertilizers and pesticides; introducing non-native species; over-harvesting of species of plants and animals—are factors dismantling biological diversity and ecological systems. And we see these negative externalities all around us, don’t we!!
Ecosystems that are Crucial for Human Survival and Well-being
There is credible evidence globally that the ongoing climate change has a deleterious impact on ecosystems. Changes in temperature, precipitation, humidity, and other climate-based abiotic parameters impact humans, animals, and ecosystems in several complex ways. In response to higher temperatures, several species shift their ranges upslope and poleward. We know by now that climate is an important environmental influence on various ecosystems. It affects ecosystems in more than one way. For example, warming might force species to migrate to higher latitudes or elevations where temperatures are more favourable to survival. The influx of saltwater into an aquatic ecosystem may force some main species to flee or die, thus eliminating predators or prey that are crucial to the local food chain as the sea level rises. One such stark example of tree line advancing or receding due to climate change in the Himalayan region has been studied by the G B Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment, Almora. The study revealed the upward movement of the tree line due to climate change in the Himalayan region and the expansion of the Rhododendron campanulatum krummholz in the tree line of Tungnath.
Development in the form of urbanization, intensive agriculture, and land-use changes are some of the few human stressors that directly affect ecosystems and species. Although some stress factors only cause localized impacts when working alone, their combined effect can result in substantial ecological changes. For example, climate change can exasperate the stress land development places on fragile coastal regions. Additionally, recently logged forest areas can become susceptible to erosion upon heavy precipitation. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 1.5 Degree Special Report (2018), ‘climate-related health risks, livelihood opportunities, food security, and so on, are expected to increase with global warming by 1.5°C or more, and disadvantaged and marginalized populations including children are at greater risk of complications’. Owing to numerous climate factors, including severe weather events involving vector-borne and waterborne diseases, IPCC, WHO, and other studies suggest health consequences. The vulnerable group is more likely to experience these exposures and detrimental effects.
Biodiversity Under Threat
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River Yamuna to Get Bubble Curtain
Geocycle—the global waste management arm of Lafarge-Holcim, that manufactures building materials, will implement the innovative ‘bubble curtain’ technology for the first time in India to stop plastic from entering the Yamuna River.
Sustainable Nitrogen Management
Desideratum of the Decade and Afar. In this article, Dr Anil Pratap Singh highligths that there is an urgent need for sustainable nitrogen management as nitrogen pollution threatens to become a major environmental challenge in the years to come.
Prevents Pollution and Animal Cruelty. The leather industry is not only death for animals but also extremely dangerous for us as the rivers are polluted with toxic chemicals. The industry is a major contributor to global warming. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi writes about plant-based leather or vegan leather, the ethical and cruelty-free alternative to traditional leather.
New NASA Earth System Observatory to Help Address Climate Change
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will design a new set of Earth-focused missions to provide key information to guide efforts related to climate change, disaster mitigation, fighting forest fires, and improving real-time agricultural processes.
‘Paani Bachao, Paisa Kamao' Scheme
Another Innovation in Punjab. To address the electricity–water–agriculture nexus problem in Punjab that has long confined the farmers, power utilities, consumers, and governments, an innovative approach was the need of the hour. In this article, Apoorva Bamal, Prajnasish Swain, and Amit Kumar tell us about the innovative ‘Paani Bachao, Paisa Kamao’ scheme in Punjab.
Who Killed Assam's 18 Asiatic Elephants?
Thunderbolt or Man–Animal Conflict? Can a herd of wild Asiatic elephants be killed by a thunderbolt? What would be its impact on the soil and trees if such a massive lightning strike at all hit the planet? Why the surrounding villages could not experience the sound of thunder along with bright rays of light? In this article, Nava Thakuria tries to find answers to these questions.
Restore Land; Sustain Lives; Promote Equality
World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought. In this article, Biba Jasmine helps deconstruct various ways in which the rate of land degradation and desertification can be seized. Given an understanding, desertification has an impact on the land area causing poverty rise, food insecurity, and high mortality rates, among other hardships, further leading to impoverishment, migration, and conflict. It is imperative to gauge ways in which land degradation and desertification have implications on ecosystem functioning and livelihoods. Let us come together this World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought and identify need for the concurrent attainment of social equity, environmental health, and economic wealth through addressing the challenge of land desertification, and degradation.
“CDRI Promotes Resilient Infrastructure to Withstand Climate and Disaster Risks”
Sandeep Poundrik is the Director-General, Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI). Here, he is in an exclusive email conversation with Abhas Mukherjee for TerraGreen.
Inviting Birds of All Feathers
What We Must Do for the Birds. Urbanization poses a major threat to bird diversity. Preeti Mehra tells us about a study backed by Azim Premji University that suggests ways to help combat it.
Sultanpur National Park
A Paradise for Birds and Birdwatchers. In this series of articles, Amarjeetsingh Bishnoi and Shakti Bishnoi share their wonderful experiences with their family in the lap of nature in Sultanpur National Park in Haryana. Last month, you read that they went to visit the sanctuary from their home in Delhi during the winter season. Now, read more about their vivid experiences there from winter to summer season…
Time ticking for coal
Business-as-usual will not work to combat climate crisis. Difficult targets must be set to reduce carbon emissions
MY RHYTHM, my blues
BACK WITH NEW MUSIC AFTER NEARLY EIGHT YEARS, THE SINGER OPENS UP ABOUT SUCCESS, STRUGGLES AND HOW DEPRESSION NEARLY TOOK HER LIFE
FOOTPRINTS FOR SUSTAINABILITY
Sustainability cannot be reduced to carbon emissions. The strong current focus on carbon emissions may be an opportunity for other environmental indicators to be developed and adopted, in the sense that platforms and accumulated experience related to carbon footprinting can be beneficial.
THE ZERO HOUR
There is no stopping climate change — the seas and the temperatures will rise. But how bad it gets is still up to us
Predicting weather-related disasters: Towards accuracy
M Mohapatra, Director General, India Meteorological Department (IMD), talks to G’nY about successes in monitoring and prediction as also the associated challenges of climate-related extreme events.
The New Way To Tell How Healthy Skin Is
The answer, which Cle de Peau Beaute scientists found, is in your skin capillaries. Here’s how to get them working at their best.
समयबध्द महासागर सूचना की उपलब्धता
इजकॉइस को फरवरी 999 में पृथ्वी विज्ञान मंत्रालय के तहत एक स्वायत्त निकाय के झूप में स्थापित किया गया था, जिसमें समाज, उद्योग, सरकारी एजेंसियों और वैज्ञानिक समुदाय को सर्वोत्तम संभव महासागर संबंधित जानकारी और सलाहकार सेवाएं प्रठान करने की जिम्मेदारी सौंपी गई थी, जिसे महासागर के निरंतर अवलोकन और केंद्रित अनुसंधान से अंजाम दिया जा सके.
Do you know your carbon footprint?
How to measure and reduce your impact on the planet and make a difference
Un infierno, si se apaga la lucha contra el calentamiento global
En un contexto en el que las acciones de los principales gobiernos del mundo han sido insuficientes para revertir los efectos del cambio climático, la Organización Meteorológica Mundial advierte: “El año 2020 comienza igual que terminó 2019, con fenómenos meteorológicos y climáticos de efectos devastadores”. Según estudios de diversas dependencias de gobierno y de investigación, 2019 es el segundo año más caluroso (detrás de 2016) desde que se tiene registro. De seguir la tendencia, el futuro es desalentador.
'La Pérdida De Biodiversidad Es Irreversible, Un Millón De Especies Están En Peligro De Extinción'
Entrevista Unai Pascual Investigador del Centro Vasco para el Cambio Climático y uno de los coordinadores del último informe internacional sobre Biodiversidad y Servicios de los Ecosistemas